The Upside News recently caught up with Adelaide garage rockers West Thebarton Brothel Party to chat about local music, football and their upcoming Groovin the Moo gig.
While many acts of their genre stick to the basic three-price line-up, WTBP are quite unique in boasting seven members (and many of these playing guitar). Bass player Nick Horvat recognises the challenges this presents but ultimately sees it as a big advantage.
“It can be a logistical nightmare writing a song with West Theb,” he says. “The best approach is to strip a song back to its basic idea then build layer on layer, cut away the unnecessary parts, and then stop before going too overboard. The wall of sound we can create can be really effective, but at the moment we are exercising a lot more restraint in our songwriting to get some contrast. These days I can’t imagine playing in a band with less members.”
The past 12 months have been a very busy period for the outfit, releasing their debut EP in the middle of last year and about to embark on a big tour that takes in three states while brandishing new single, ‘Red or White’.
“We’re just trying to make hay while the sun shines,” Nick explains. “We’re trying to pump out as much new music, videos, live shows and interstate trips as we can because, right now, it feels like it’s just flowing out of us.
“We have just released our new single ‘Red or White’ and filmed a video clip with our videographer, Lewis Brideson, and we’ll be heading out to tour that release in Ballarat, Melbourne and Sydney, then back home to play the Day of Clarity stage at the Exeter again, second year running.”
The band has a strong connection with local institution, Clarity Records, and is looking forward to once again participating in the unique local music festival in the East End, curated annually by the store.
“Day of Clarity, and (store owner Matt Horvath) Footy’s approach to supporting local music, is essential for the Adelaide music scene,” Nick Says. “We need people to realise that this city is producing some world class artists who are worth seeing, and the collaboration between all the venues in the East End to host free, top quality shows is amazing. We are drawn back by the crowds of people that are jumping out of their skins to see local bands do their thing. It’s an amazing festival.
“We’re really excited about Day of Clarity, and particularly the Exeter beer garden stage again this year, we played last year and there were people piling in everywhere, it felt way beyond capacity, and it was probably my favourite set we’ve ever played.”
As it turns out, Clarity is also a bit of a regular haunt for the band, who could be found there last weekend for Record Store Day.
“The last couple years most of us have queued up in line at Clarity Records for when Footy, the owner, opens up at midnight. His marathon thirty hour plus shifts on Record Store Day are becoming legendary. Footy always selects some real gems in his RSD order. Brian (guitarist/percussionist) picked up a rare 7″ from Australian band The Personalities, which he was stoked with.”
Before the band gets to the Clarity gig though, there’s a tour ahead, starting with Groovin the Moo on ANZAC Day in Oakbank.
“Triple J Unearthed had this competition for a local band to play the opening slot at the Oakbank festival, and we were lucky enough to be selected,” Nick explains. “We’re playing straight after our mates Grenadiers who are one of Adelaide’s best punk bands, so it’s going to be a hard act to follow.”
And there’s a fair bit about the regional music festival that the band is looking forward to, including playing on the big stage in lead singer Ray Dalfsen’s old stomping ground in the Adelaide Hills.
“It’s a real homecoming set for him,” says Nick. “And super keen for DZ Deathrays, Danny Brown and Grenadiers.”
For those making the trip to the hills on Monday, it will be worth getting there early to catch WTBP, who promise “a short, sharp and ferocious set full of some old crowd favorites and some newer songs.”
While finding a rich vein of success, both here and interstate, West Thebarton Brothel Party remain very passionate about the Adelaide music scene.
“It seems like Adelaide artists are on the map interstate now more than ever. People interstate are taking notice and it’s about time. I think at the moment the mainstream scene has been trailblazed interstate by Adelaide artists like Bad//Dreems, Tkay Maidza, Grenadiers, Horror My Friend, a bunch of other acts too.
“It’s a really exciting time to be part of the Adelaide scene with such a diverse array of artists doing some really incredible stuff. Artists like Maggie Rujens, Abbey Howlett, Hummingbird, Strict Face, the Hard Aches, Young Offenders, the bands in the Swirl Records collective, Hydromedusa, Sparkspitter, God God Dammit Dammit, Wireheads, Bad//Dreems, they are all doing such incredible stuff that is making people realise how vibrant the scene we have right in front of us is. They are all so different but I can go to any one of their shows and be blown away by what they are doing.”
Having covered RSD, Groovin the Moo and the local music scene, we finish with a topic close the heart of many of us here in Adelaide: the football, in particular the current woes of the Power and whether it just might be time to give the maligned John Butcher a call up.
Nick has little sympathy though: “Carn the Crows. Get him in there, surely it couldn’t hurt.”
Ray, however, is more optimistic. “He’s tall, athletic and sports a decent haircut. Bring him into the Power and forget that he’s spent years trying to kick between the posts. Start him at fullback, wind him up and watch him become the Stephan Silvagni for the Millenials.”
Grab your tickets for Groovin the Moo here. But get in quick, as the Canberra and Maitland legs have already sold out.
For details about A Day of Clarity, which runs throughout the day and night of Saturday 21st May, go to the Facebook event page here.
Also, check out the clip for ‘Red or White’:
By Matthew Trainor